The rollout of Ethereum layer-2 scaling network Blast hasn’t been without controversy, but even so, users have pumped the project with more than $1.3 billion in search of yield and airdrop rewards. Blast has now launched its test network, and is attempting to bring app developers into its ecosystem with a similar promise of airdropped tokens.

On Tuesday, Blast announced that its testnet is now live, and that the project is trying to attract developers to start building with the launch of a “Big Bang” competition.

Developers who enter their Blast apps into the competition will have the first chance to earn token rewards in the upcoming airdrop, Blast wrote on Twitter, with the winning apps being “promoted” to the mainnet when it goes live in late February.

Blast founder Tieshun “Pacman” Roquerre will judge the contest along with representatives from investors Paradigm and Standard Crypto, among others. Pacman and fellow Blast team members will also offer guidance and mentorship to developers along the way.


Pacman is also the founder of Blur, the leading NFT marketplace, and Blast’s launch appears to be following much the same strategy as it attempts to leapfrog over existing Ethereum layer-2 networks—that is, by using potentially sizable token incentives.

Blur handed out over $800 million worth of BLUR tokens in 2023 to NFT traders, and the initial round of airdropped tokens in February coincided with the platform topping OpenSea as the most-used marketplace in terms of trading volume.

According to a Tuesday tweet thread, blast will hand out half of its total airdrop to users and the other half to developers. On the former front, more than 100,000 total wallets have now locked up over $1.3 billion worth of cryptocurrency to earn “Blast points,” which will eventually convert to airdropped tokens once the Blast mainnet is live.


With the Big Bang competition and beyond, Blast aims to get decentralized app (dapp) creators to start building to earn a share of the other half of the airdrop.

Blast’s surging deposits and user tally comes following pushback to the platform’s November launch. Crypto users and fellow developers complained about Blast’s approach to launching a bridge to take deposits before the Blast network was actually ready and live, as well as blocking users from withdrawing their funds until the mainnet debuts in February.

Paradigm, one of the most prominent backers of both Blast and Blur, took the team to task following the initial launch, with Head of Research and General Partner Dan Robinson tweeting that the announcement “crossed lines in both messaging and execution.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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